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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Jun;67(12):2077-90. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0315-9. Epub 2010 Mar 7.

TGF-beta stimulates biglycan synthesis via p38 and ERK phosphorylation of the linker region of Smad2.

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Diabetes and Cell Biology Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta treatment of human vascular smooth-muscle cells increases the expression of biglycan and causes marked elongation of its glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains. We investigated the role of MAP kinases and Smad transcription factors in this response. TGF-beta-stimulated phosphorylation of p38, ERK, and JNK as well as Smad2 at both its carboxy terminal (phospho-Smad2C) and in the linker region (phospho-Smad2L). Pharmacological inhibition of ERK and p38 blocked TGF-beta-mediated GAG elongation and expression of biglycan whereas inhibition of JNK had no effect. Inhibition of ERK and p38 but not JNK attenuated the effect of TGF-beta to increase phospho-Smad2L. High levels of phospho-Smad2L were detected in a nuclear fraction of TGF-beta treated cells. Thus, MAP kinase signaling through ERK and p38 and via phosphorylation of the linker region of Smad2 mediates the effects of TGF-beta on biglycan synthesis in vascular smooth-muscle cells.

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